Apple CEO Tim Cook will visit Beijing later in May to meet with high-level government officials as the company looks to counter a series of recent setbacks in the country (via Reuters).
According to sources familiar with the matter, Cook plans to meet senior government and Communist Party leaders to discuss a range of issues, including weakening iPhone sales and the company's loss of control of its smartphone trademark in China, now its second biggest market.
The news comes after Apple's earning call last month revealed sales fell 26 percent in greater China in the second quarter of 2016. Following the earning's call, billionaire Carl Icahn, who has been buying large amounts of Apple stock over the past three years, sold his stake in the company and expressed worries over China's attitude towards Apple.
As part of his visit, Cook will also meet with officials from the Communist Party's propaganda wing, in order to address concerns after Apple fell foul of a state campaign to control online content and enforce strict localization of data storage, according to the Reuters source.
Last month, Apple's iTunes Movies and iBooks stores were reportedly forced offline in the country by the Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. One Hong Kong-based news outlet linked the store closures to the release of controversial independent movie Ten Years, which won best picture prize at April’s Hong Kong Film Awards, despite being banned in China. The dystopian film imagines Hong Kong in 2025 with language police, mini Red Guards, radical protest and social alienation rife. News of the store closures broke shortly before the movie became available on iTunes in Hong Kong.
Apple is one of eight companies that China has targeted for being "too deeply established in the country's core industries" according to The New York Times. Other companies on China's list include IBM, Qualcomm and Microsoft.
Last November, when asked whether Apple had run into censorship problems in China, Eddy Cue said that the company had a "great working relationship" with China and that the launch of Apple Music and the iTunes Movies and iBooks stores showed that Apple knew how to work in the country.
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